AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
NASCAR may be returning to Canada, but not to Montreal or a rumored stop at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport), but at a brand new facility in Fort Erie in Ontario.
Electric car maker Fisker Automotive is expanding its grip on worldwide sales by pushing its new Karma in Canada.
To bring the cars to the Canadian market with the smallest investment possible, Fisker partnered with existing retailers in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to market its car. In Toronto, a standalone store will be constructed in a well to do area of the city to try and push sales up in the Country’s largest market
Electric vehicle sales in Canada are also backed by the Canadian government as well as provincial governments, with Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec offering incentives up to $8,500 CAD on new electric vehicle purchases. Ontario residents also get the benefit of unrestricted access to high occupancy vehicle lanes for plug-in cars. The province of Quebec is offering to pay for half the cost of a charging station.
Writing about cars all the time can do some funky things to your taste in wheels, invariably automotive journalists flock to the best of the best. The funny part is that those parameters get warped pretty easily, leaving one writers idea of an ideal car miles away from another.
The same thing goes for enthusiasts, which is why there’s a little storm brewing right now on VWVortex, an enthusiast forum for all things Volkswagen. Interestingly enough, that tempest isn’t about a Volkswagen at all, it’s a 1992 Peugeot 205 GTi. It’s OK if you’re not sure what that is, they aren’t legal in the U.S. and can rarely be found as an import in the wintry Canadian north.
That being said, a member on VWVortex posted a link to someone selling one in Ontario, Canada asking if the seven grand asking price was reasonable marked down from a previous $8000.
Here’s the skinny on these cars: they look an awful lot like the VW GTI, in fact you might not know the difference if one went speeding by, but they can be crazy fun on the road. They have super-nimble handling that lets you toss them into corners like Dan Marino throwing touchdown passes, it’s tight.
They get a 5-speed manual with a 1.9-liter inline four under the hood, good for 120 horses. Sure, you’re not going to show up any Mustangs or Camaros, but damn it if they aren’t a hoot to drive.
Upkeep is their biggest enemy and it’s pretty close to impossible in North America for a couple reasons. First, they were never sold here, so you’re in for a tough time finding parts. Second, these things are sure to break. The 205 was Peugeot’s first small car. They built them for 15 years with the last unit rolling off the line in 1998.
The early models came with the same engine as the Peugeot 104, but later models got either the XU and TU-series engines— which as one forum member eloquently wrote, are “crap.”
Realistically, a 205 GTi is more of a collector’s piece than anything considering their poor reliability and scarcity. You’re not going to find too many girls swooning over them, but they have a well-deserved place in car culture for those who appreciate them.
See the ad out for yourself here.
GALLERY: 1992 Peugeot 205 GTi
[Source: VWVortex forum]
Our neighbors in the North want to see green in their future. No, not just money, but also green energy. Hence the Government of Ontario (Canada) has teamed up with one of the worlds largest automotive parts manufacturer Magna International Inc. to develop electric vehicle technologies.
The project is said to cost $441-million and will take about six-years to develop. The Ontario government will contribute $50-million towards this green project.
Ontario wants to be taken seriously about its plans for a greener future and is attracting car companies to move it towards this goal. Earlier this year, Toyota announced that it will produce the RAV4 EV model in Ontario, which will be the first electric vehicle produced by Toyota outside of Japan.
The project with Magna will help develop electric car parts and lightweight materials which will be used by other manufacturers. The Ford Focus EV was partly developed by Magna.
Frank Stronach, the founder of Magna owns a 27% stake in a electric car company called E-Car Venture, a connection that will surely help in moving this new project forward.
[Source: Automotive News]
A Dodge Challenger was struck down far before its time at the Brampton, Ontario factory—bursting into flames right in the final stages on the assembly line.
The fire was caused by a heat lamp that had ignited some paperwork that was attached to the car. Nobody was injured and no other cars were counted as casualties, as the sprinkler system quickly put it out. “Things happen from time to time,” said Ardis Snow, CAW unit chairperson at the plant. “They need to determine if it was human error or product related.”
The photos leaked onto the Moparts forum where some believe that this was a rare 392 SRT model, noting the wheels and the hood scoop. ”Fires happen all the time in the automotive industry,” said Snow. Clearly, the folks at Chrysler are adjusting well to the foibles of Italian ownership.
The Canadian province of Ontario announced that the Nissan Leaf will qualify for the full $8500 rebate on electric vehicles sold in Ontario. The provincial government offers incentives of $5,000 to $8,500 Canadian dollars will apply to electric vehicles sold in the province. The incentives vary based on the size of a cars battery, but the Leaf is able to qualify for the full $8,500 rebate.
On sale in Canada at the end of 2011, the Leaf has already attracted 2,500 “handraisers”, and the $8,500 credit is sure to make it an attractive proposition in an area where gas hovers around the $4/gallon mark.
[Source: Nissan Canada]
Honda dealers in the Canadian province of Ontario are chipping in to help out with the Honda Indy in Toronto, sponsoring the Friday practice on July 16th, and allowing fans to watch the action for free.
The Ontario Honda Dealers Association is not only sponsoring the practice sessions, but also the car of hometown hero Paul Tracy, who drives the #15 KV Racing Technology car. Both Tracy and the dealer association will also be donating significant sums of money to the Make-A-Wish foundation, a charity that grants terminally ill children their “last wish”. The two were able to raise $100,000 for the foundation last year, and it is expected that a similarly substantial donation will be made this year.
In addition, seats for the Friday practice will be available on a first-come first-served basis, meaning that even the most expensive seats (save for corporate boxes) will be up for grabs.
Honda Indy manager Charlie Johnstone praised the initiative in an email to the Toronto Sun, stating ““This is one of the most significant initiatives in the history of the event for the community at large.” “To have free access to a world class event is unprecedented and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association. For this we are truly grateful.”
[Source: The Toronto Sun]
Yesterday the annual Gumball 3000 Rally wound its way from Quebec to Toronto, with one thrill seeker finding out the hard way about the province of Ontario’s strict street racing law. The driver of a 2009 Dodge Charger from California was stopped once near Kingston, Ontario for driving 140 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and given a ticket. Two hours later, the same driver was pulled over in his Charger traveling 170 km/h. Under Ontario’s “Street Racing” legislation, anyone caught exceeding the posted limit by more than 50 km/h faces tough penalties – and that’ sjust what happen.
Ontario Provincial Police (stationed at almost every exit along the 401) charged the driver with stunt driving, seized his license for seven days and impounded his vehicle. (Perhaps the team in the Volvo limo will give him a ride the rest of the way?)
The Gumballers were on their way to Toronto for the night, before embarking on the final leg to New York.
AutoGuide caught up with the Gumballers at a pit stop during the day at Shannonville Motorsports Park, two hours east of Toronto. Check out all the exotics in our gallery below:
GALLERY: 2010 Gumball 3000
Full sized sedan will remain front-drive only
The next version of the Chevrolet Impala won’t arrive until 2013 as a 2014 model. It will continue to be a front-drive only vehicle and will share a similar architecture to the upcoming Cadillac XTS flagship. Both vehicles will be built by GM Canada at the Oshawa, Ontario plant.
According to a report by GMI, GM’s new Executive Committee had approved these plans for a new Impala.
With the current Impala already long-in-the-tooth, there have been rumors that General Motors will release an updated version of the current car some time soon to keep it competitive. Chrysler is planning on releasing refreshed versions of the 300C and Charger, although all of these models have had long life cycles compared to the new Ford Taurus.
Napanee judge declares two-year-old law unconstitutional
A judge in Ontario has overturned a charge of street racing against a grandmother from the city of Oakville (just outside Toronto), declaring that the law is unconstitutional. This ruling now opens the flood gates for others charged under the province’s “Street Racing” law to contest their charges in court. And there are a lot of others.
Two years ago the Ontario provincial government passed a law stating that anyone charged going 50 km/h (31 mph) over the posted speed limit would be labeled a street racer and would face a roadside license suspension for seven days, having their car impounded and face a possible $10,000 fine and jail time if convicted. Since the law was passed, over 15,000 people have been charged.
The judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it allows for jail time even though the speeder can’t fight the charges. To put it more simply, because the charge is based on undeniable proof from a police radar gun that the person charged was in fact exceeding the posted speed limit by 50 km/h or more, a conviction is automatic, thereby removing the possibility of a defense.
The case was brought to court by Jane Raham, who was clocked doing over 130 km/h (80 mph) in a 80 km/h (50 mph) zone, while passing a truck.
Despite the ruling, Ontario Provincial Police constable Dave Woodford said, “It’s business as usual,” declaring that his police force will continue to charge people under the law even though it has been declared unconstitutional.
We’re not legal experts, but that sure doesn’t sound like “the true north strong and free.”
The Ontario government has declared it will appeal the ruling.
[Source: London Free Press]
[Photo Credit: Canada.com]
The last time the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro was spied, it was outside the car’s production facility in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. These latest spy shots come from the other side of the world.
GMInsideNews forum member isszy captured two photos of eight of the drop-top Camaros at a Holden facility in Fisherman’s Bend, Australia.
The Camaro Convertible was originally scheduled to debut as a 2010 model, but due to GM’s recent financial troubles the project was put on hold. Now that GM is out of bankruptcy, the economy appears headed for a rebound and the Camaro coupe is such a big success for the still-struggling automaker, the Camaro Convertible is back on track for a 2010 debut as a 2011 model.
GALLERY: 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible Spy Photos
Late Sunday a judge approved the sale of GM’s assets to a group comprised of the U.S. government, the UAW and the Canadian and Ontario governments under the name NGMCO, Inc. The decision will see GM exit bankruptcy court quickly with the ‘New GM’ assets going to NGMCO, while the ‘Old GM’ assets will be sold off to the highest bidder.
Judge Robert Gerber then placed a stay on the proceedings to for four days to hear objections or appeals, but as most of those have already been dealt with, GM is expected to reemerge as a new government-owner company by Thursday.
In a statement Judge Robert Gerber said that he would, “prevent the death of the patient on the operating table.”
Gerber pointed out the seriousness of the matter and the alternative, stating that, “The only alternative to an immediate sale is liquidation – a disastrous result for GM’s creditors, its employees, the suppliers who depend on GM for their own existence, and the communities in which GM operates.”
The New GM will be majority owned by the U.S. government with a 60 percent stake in the automaker. The UAW will get 17.5 percent, while the Canadian and Ontario governments will get 12 percent.
In response to the news GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson released a statement saying that, “A healthy domestic auto industry remains vital to the global economy and we deeply appreciate the support the U.S., Canadian and Ontario governments and taxpayers have given GM, and the sacrifices that have been made by so many. This has been an especially challenging period, and we’ve had to make very difficult decisions to address some of the issues that have plagued our business for decades. Now it’s our responsibility to fix this business and place the company on a clear path to success without delay.”
The Obama Administration’s auto task force has said that sale of GM back to the private sector could begin as early as next year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Suzuki recently made the decision to stop production on its low volume XL7 SUV. The vehicle is currently the only Suzuki manufactured in North America.
Suzuki built the three-row, seven-passenger crossover at General Motors’ CAMI facility in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. The facility will continue to produce GM products on its other lines.
Suzuki continues to have a stake in the CAMI joint-venture and CEO Osamu Suzuki isn’t worried that it might be shut down. “The possibility that CAMI would be forced into closure or a production stop is 120 percent impossible,” he told Automotive News. “It is a central pillar in the reconstruction plan, so I am not worried about it.”
It is unclear if Suzuki has plans to re-start production on its flagship XL7 SUV once the economy rebounds or if Suzuki’s interests in the CAMI facility include a new vehicle. Suzuki has announced that it will debut a new mid-sized sedan by the end of this year.
[Source: AutomotiveNews via Autoblog]